Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back to the Grindstone ...

Well, virtually overnight it's autumn. I can tell this because 

a) I'm extremely smart and observant, and 

b) it's starting to get crisp and cool of an evening, and all the leaves are starting to turn yellow. 

Also, up till now, it's been pissing down in the daytime. (Which, given the weather we had in the summer, is not a particularly reliable indicator, I must admit.)

Malyon brought me back a few little presents from Ecuador: an amusingly obscene keyring (can't imagine what I'll do with that) and a pack of what they are pleased to call cigarrillos, from the valley of eternal youth or somesuch. I rather think that this is a misnomer, for reasons that will become clear, and I've half a mind to take them up before the advertising standards agency.

I can see as how one might call the place the valley of eternal life, because it's true that if you try to smoke the damn things your life will at least seem to last forever. But that is not, as we're all too well aware, quite the same thing as staying youthful.

Although they are, no doubt, good for you. Actually getting one of the little coarse cardboard tubes, apparently stuffed with chopped newsprint, alight, and then smoking it down to the end, probably gives you more exercise than a good 10km run. Doubtless why they haven't bothered to put health warnings on the packets.

Whatever, got Mal & Tony back to Geneva on Tuesday, in plenty of time for them to hang around the airport waiting to board, and for me to hit the traffic jam at the frontier on the return trip, as all the frontaliers return from their high-paid day jobs in Geneva to their (much cheaper) homes in France. Note to self: next time, make sure Mal books flights to leave or arrive around midday.

No matter, they arrived back in sunny Scotland (funny how Mal has acclimatised. She found 22° a bit hot) and have immediately gone into flat-hunting mode. This is not that easy at this time of year, but seeing as how Mal did spend the last few months up a tree far from Glasgow they don't really have that much choice.

And Jeremy is back at the internat for his last year of lycée. Another year of boarding-school food ... seems it's uniformly dire, no matter what country you're in. Although in fact it's not that bad, as he only has something like twenty weeks at school: the rest of the time he is supposed to be off on stage, mainly in furrin parts. England, or maybe Canada: we'll doubtless find out at some point.

Which reminds that I really need to go down to the palais de justice at Chambéry and pick up the forms for him to get his Frog nationality: not that he cares, it just makes it that much easier for him to travel as an EU citizen.

Have finally decided after all these years to get ourselves organised up at the office and install some project management software. Which means that I've so far spent a couple of days looking at and trying out some of the diverse offerings available. Of course, we wish to pay nothing, which means the choice is limited to cloud-based with restricted functionality, or an in-house open-source solution which is potentially far too powerful for our requirements.

So I installed a thing called web2project on the server, and we'll see how long that lasts. It certainly looks scarily complicated, which has to be a good sign.

Now that the holidays are over I'd rather hoped that the roads would be better. Usual triumph of hope over experience of course, as I got stuck on the nationale behind some old fart apparently obsessed by the idea that his car would self-destruct if ever it crept over 70kph. Quite frankly, I wish it would. And as the vendange is now in full swing there are the tractors out in force as well ... must order in another palette of the pills for blood pressure that those nice online pharmacies keep trying to sell me.

In unrelated news, we is of course watching the second season of Spirited, which really is rather good. What I simply cannot work out is how in hell it came to be that Endemol, the infamous Dutch company responsible for the ghastly flood of crap "reality" shows, has a finger in it. I really thought that anything they touched turned to crud: I seem to be mistaken.

At least all the other series are coming out of estivation now, so we'll be able to while away those long autumn evenings turning our brains to mush with The Mentalist and stuff like that.
Saturday, and Beckham has convoked us all to inspect Whisky Boy, the diplomat, at the Refuge at noon. I think we'll try to arrange things so that we're lined up on one side of a table in the shade, and he's sitting there in front of us with the sun glaring in his face. Then Bryan can get out the car battery and the jumper leads, and we can have some fun. I just hope we don't scare the poor chap too much.

(Have to admit, having four fifty-mumblish persons - and I'm being remarkably charitable to Bryan here - inspecting you critically as though you were something the cat dragged in could be kind of intimidating. Another note to self: try to put on the Smiley Face. And not the crazed schizoid one, the nice one. And don't do the Goggle Eyes, even for a laugh.)

Much to my surprise, the execrable Pierre has got new waitresses in, and they are not yet trained. This means that they have not learnt the fine art of ignoring the clientele, simultaneously bustling around and doing SFA, and one can actually order a drink. Even more shocking, the drink will then be delivered to the table before it evaporates. This state of affairs cannot last, of course, but whilst it does I have every intention of profiting from it.

Anyway, back home and Margo has to get ready for the trip up to Alsace for her big salon. Once again I'll be left rattling sadly around the place with only the dog for company: for two whole weeks this time, for she has a second show down south-west, virtually back-to-back with the first. I can see that I shall have to re-learn to amuse myself.

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